If ever there was a topic that divides opinion, it’s this one. Admittedly, it’s a great way of finding out if the role is right for you; because, if you know the salary, it will help you make up your mind if it’s in line with your expectations and in the long run, save everyone else’s time too.
But when is a good time to ask about salary at the interview? Let’s go through it…
There aren’t any rules about asking or not asking, you need to gauge the situation from the interview for yourself. Just ensure you’re confident that the interview has gone well, before diving in with THE big question.
If during the first interview, the questions from the interviewer are fairly intense, that would certainly seem a bad time to ask.
If you’ve been invited back and this is your second interview, I think it’s fair to say they’ve shown a level of interest in you that gives you some kind of right, to ask at this stage; especially if it’s the final interview and you’re not expected to return again.
Diving straight in at the beginning of the interview and asking ‘how much will I get paid’ is almost definitely off-limits. It’s sure to give off a bad first impression and unlikely to lead to a positive outcome. All it tells your prospective employer is that you’re interested more in the money than you are in the actual job; they won’t like that.
Before you approach the sticky subject of wages, make sure you cover all of the other aspects of the interview first. Sell your skills, demonstrate your experience and concentrate on the questions that are being asked of you before even thinking about asking about money!
To be honest, you’ve probably got a pretty good idea of what the job you’re applying for, actually pays, or is worth. And of course, we might have already told you a guide figure when we spoke to you initially.
We’ll make sure you go into the interview armed with the knowledge of potential salary brackets beforehand, but of course, you could do some research of similar positions in your area, which should give you a good idea too. If you’ve carried this research out, you’’ have a good idea of what they’re likely to offer you. This will ensure both you and your interviewer will be on the same page in the interview and avoid any awkward silences!
During an interview, an employer might ask your expectations before you get the chance to bring it up yourself. This may seem like the perfect opportunity to discuss money more freely, but it’s always best to remain diplomatic with your answer at this stage.
You could slightly overestimate the amount you’re looking for…
You could use their question as a reason to draw attention to your interest in the position itself and avoid giving a direct answer…
…or you could explain that you need to know more about the role before answering; These are all good strategies to adopt at this point.
It’s good to avoid saying “I’m flexible”, as this could lead to you ending up with a lower offer than you’re looking for. But it could be the perfect opportunity to ask the employer about the range they have in mind.
The one thing to avoid at this point is lying about your current earnings, that is never advisable.
Before any questions about money have arisen, you should have already explained your suitability and passion for the role that you’re interviewing for. That way, when the salary negotiation (and it can be just that) arises, the employer will be able to accurately assess if the amount they have in mind matches up to what you have to offer.
Plus, don’t be afraid. If you think their offer is not enough, present your reasons assertively and if you have the grounds to back it, a mutually beneficial agreement can be reached. Good Luck.